International Banker

Interview with Mr. Khairul Kamarudin, CEO of Bank Islam #Malaysia Berhad

In this interview Khairul Kamarudin, CEO of Bank Islam Malaysia, talks about his leadership style and areas of focus. Besides sustainability, the other main area of focus will be digitalisation. In 2016 the bank launched the innovative product called 'e-Donation' Terminal using Visa PayWave, a platform where donations can be made through the contactless electronic method using any debit/credit card. Bank Islam has also taken a step towards accepting fintechs with the recent strategic collaboration with Cognizant. This will allow the bank to embark more on innovative digital Islamic banking. In terms of charity, Bank Islam has its own Waqf project in its office building, which provides prayer facilities to more than 3,000 people per week. Also, the bank supports the affordable development project in Selangor and a school-construction project in the state of Perlis.

Interview with Ahmed Abdul Rahim, Chief Executive Officer of Ithmaar Bank

In this interview, Ahmed Abdul Rahim talks about Ithmaar Bank’s recent performance, the global Islamic banking industry and the increasing use of technology in banking. Ithmaar Bank is now entirely focused on retail banking and is considered one of the biggest Islamic retail banks in Bahrain. The waiting period at the branches has been reduced and the customer is provided various delivery channels for services like call center, Internet banking, EasyPay and mobile banking. EasyPay is the first-of-its-kind mobile-payment service in Bahrain. The service enables customers to shop simply by tapping their mobile phones at the checkout counters of participating merchants. As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar ensures that all its products and services are compliant with Islamic Sharia rules and that business is conducted accordingly.

Interview with Mr. Khairul Kamarudin, Deputy CEO of Bank Islam

In this interview deputy CEO of Bank Islam in Malaysia, Khairul Kamarudin, talks about the challenges Bank Islam had to face during the years. The bank had heavy losses in 2005 and 2006 and had to manage the misconceptions of the public as well. Today, Bank Islam’s customers have grown to more than 5 million. The bank was one of the four founding Islamic banks to form a consortium that launched the Investment Account Platform (IAP) in 2015. The IAP platform facilitates direct investment by investors into viable ventures of their choice. Bank Islam is involved in several social projects and foundations, like the Projek Bantuan Rumah (Housing Aid Project) and Promoting Intelligence, Nurturing Talent and Advocating Responsibility (PINTAR) Foundation.

Eskan Bank: Making #HomeOwnership a Reality for #Bahrain’s Citizens

Bahrain’s Eskan Bank has enjoyed a very fruitful 2015. The bank recorded positive growth in its mortgage-loan portfolio and also made great strides in several of its social and affordable housing initiatives. Total net income grew by 8% during the year, while the bank’s capital-adequacy ratio continued to improve to 151.72%. Although the Ministry of Housing (MOH) is responsible for the allocation of social-housing financing to Bahraini citizens, Eskan Bank provides pivotal support through the processing of approved social-housing financing applications.

The Growth of the Responsible Investment Industry

A niche area only a few years ago, new ethically focused products and funds are popping into existence at a rapid rate, while mainstream funds are increasingly trying to keep up by integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards into their investment decision-making. Trustworthy corporate brands take a long time to build based on years of good governance, treating customers fairly and contributing positively to society, but it takes seconds for that brand and consumer trust to be destroyed. Consumers, governments and non-governmental bodies are increasingly targeting companies that have demonstrated poor governance, show scant regard for environmental standards or have records of poor labour relations.

Eskan Bank as the Provider of Choice for Affordable Housing in the Kingdom of Bahrain

Eskan Bank (EB), established in 1979 and fully owned by the government, has the mandate to provide financing to the low-to-medium-income population segment, specifically to acquire (purchase/construct) a primary residence, and contribute to related property development. During its 36 years of existence, the bank has assisted approximately 35 percent of citizens by providing more than BD 700 million in mortgage financing. With its authorized share capital of BD 400 million and paid-up capital of BD 108.3 million, EB operates under a restricted conventional retail banking license issued and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB). Its total assets at the end of 2014 stood at BD 610.7 million.

Islamic Finance as the Way Ahead for the Socio-economic Empowerment of the Global Ummah

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah says we should not fall prey to over-optimism and entertain the illusion that Islamic banking and finance is immune from the effects of any great shift or turn in the forces and currents that shape the world— culturally, politically, socially or economically. Thus, we must continuously make the effort to monitor and understand the happenings in the world as well as the apparent and hidden forces giving rise to them. These include the civilizational crisis, globalization, the shift from the real economy to the financial economy and the rise of the global Occupy movement and the Arab Spring uprisings. In the mission to empower the global ummah economically, it is now quite obvious that the system of choice is the Islamic economic system.

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